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187 Inspiring Quotes by Simone Weil

  • Last updated Jul 26 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Simone Weil.

Wikipedia Summary for Simone Weil

Simone Adolphine Weil ( VAY, French: [simɔn vɛj]; 3 February 1909 – 24 August 1943) was a French philosopher, mystic, and political activist. The mathematician André Weil was her brother.

After her graduation from formal education, Weil became a teacher. She taught intermittently throughout the 1930s, taking several breaks due to poor health and to devote herself to political activism, work that would see her assisting in the trade union movement, taking the side of the anarchists known as the Durruti Column in the Spanish Civil War, and spending more than a year working as a labourer, mostly in auto factories, so she could better understand the working class.

Taking a path that was unusual[according to whom?] among 20th-century left-leaning intellectuals, she became more religious and inclined towards mysticism as her life progressed. Weil wrote throughout her life, although most of her writings did not attract much attention until after her death. In the 1950s and 1960s, her work became famous in continental Europe and throughout the English-speaking world. Her thought has continued to be the subject of extensive scholarship across a wide range of fields. A meta study from the University of Calgary found that between 1995 and 2012 over 2,500 new scholarly works had been published about her. Albert Camus described her as "the only great spirit of our times".

white Starbuck plastic cup on brown fabric armchair

We should do only those righteous actions which we cannot stop ourselves from doing.

--Simone Weil


white wall paint beside white wall

The Great Beast is the only object of idolatry , the only ersatz of God , the only imitation of something which is infinitely far from me and which is I myself.

--Simone Weil

photo of brown parquet

I suffer more from the humiliations inflicted by my country than from those inflicted on her.

--Simone Weil

black and gray textile in close up photography

Rome is the Great Beast of atheism and materialism, adoring nothing but itself. Israel is the Great Beast of religion. Neither one nor the other is likable. The Great Beast is always repulsive.

--Simone Weil

gray concrete painted wall

The danger is not lest the soul should doubt whether there is any bread, but lest, by a lie, it should persuade itself that it is not hungry.

--Simone Weil


yellow and red color textile

More than in any other performing arts the lack of respect for acting seems to spring from the fact that every layman considers himself a valid critic.

--Simone Weil

body of water during sunset

When once a certain class of people has been placed by the temporal and spiritual authorities outside the ranks of those whose life has value, then nothing comes more naturally to men than murder.

--Simone Weil

brown leaf tree facing the lake

Evil when we are in its power is not felt as evil but as a necessity, or even a duty.

--Simone Weil

landscape photography of trees

Purity is the power to contemplate defilement.

--Simone Weil

pink and white abstract painting

If it were conceivable that in obeying God one should bring about one's own damnation whilst in disobeying him one could be saved, I should still choose the way of obedience.

--Simone Weil

snow covered mountain under blue sky during daytime

Official history is a matter of believing murderers on their own word.

--Simone Weil

black bare tree under blue sky

The most important part of teaching is to teach what it is to know.

--Simone Weil

person holding dried beans

Every perfect life is a parable invented by God.

--Simone Weil

None

There is one, and only one, thing in modern society more hideous than crime namely, repressive justice.

--Simone Weil



pink flower

If you want to know what a man is really like, take notice of how he acts when he loses money.

--Simone Weil



white wooden dock on white sand

The poison of skepticism becomes, like alcoholism, tuberculosis, and some other diseases, much more virulent in a hitherto virgin soil.

--Simone Weil


black dragonfly perched on green grass in close up photography during daytime

Nothing can have as its destination anything other than its origin. The contrary idea, the idea of progress, is poison.

--Simone Weil

None

It sometimes happens that a thought, either formulated to oneself or not formulated at all, works secretly on the mind and yet has but little direct influence over it.

--Simone Weil



silhouette of off-road car

The development of the faculty of attention forms the real object and almost the sole interest of studies.

--Simone Weil

A white stripe pattern made up of concrete facade ribs

The virtue of hope is an orientation of the soul towards a transformation after which it will be wholly and exclusively love.

--Simone Weil

brown sand under blue sky during daytime

Oppression that is clearly inexorable and invincible does not give rise to revolt but to submission.

--Simone Weil


orange and white floor tiles

To claim that theft or adultery or lying are "evil" simply reflects our degraded idea of good---that it has something to do with respect for property, respectability, and sincerity.

--Simone Weil


Light blue to dark blue gradient

What is surprising is not that oppression should make its appearance only after higher forms of economy have been reached, but that it should always accompany them.

--Simone Weil

purple flowers under sunny sky

A beautiful woman looking at her image in the mirror may very well believe the image is herself. An ugly woman knows it is not.

--Simone Weil

rock formation surrounding by body of water

The real sin of idolatry is always committed on behalf of something similar to the State.

--Simone Weil

white and blue building under clear sky

Imagination is always the fabric of social life and the dynamic of history. The influence of real needs and compulsions, of real interests and materials, is indirect because the crowd is never conscious of it.

--Simone Weil

man standing outdoors

To die for God is not a proof of faith in God. To die for an unknown and repulsive convict who is a victim of injustice, that is a proof of faith in God.

--Simone Weil

silhouette of flying bird

If three steps are taken without any other motive than the desire to obey God, those three steps are miraculous; they are equally so whether they take place on dry land or on water.

--Simone Weil

red moon at night

All the goods of this world...are finite and limited and radically incapable of satisfying the desire that perpetually burns within us for an infinite and perfect good.

--Simone Weil

blue and white water surface

Everything without exception which is of value in me comes from somewhere other than myself, not as a gift but as a loan which must be ceaselessly renewed.

--Simone Weil

water on seashore

It is an eternal obligation toward the human being not to let him suffer from hunger when one has a chance of coming to his assistance.

--Simone Weil

None

Friendship is a miracle by which a person consents to view from a certain distance, without coming any nearer, the very being who is as necessary to him as food.

--Simone Weil

fireplace on fire

Contradiction is the lever of transcendence.

--Simone Weil

man in black shirt on pink background

Love is not consolation, it is light.

--Simone Weil


woman in brown long sleeve shirt and blue denim jeans

To get power over is to defile. To possess is to defile.

--Simone Weil

None

Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.

--Simone Weil

blue and white striped textile

Every atheist is an idolater- unless he is worshipping the true God in his impersonal aspect. The majority of the pious are idolaters.

--Simone Weil

white desk lamp beside green plant

It is not through the way in which someone speaks about God that I can see whether that person has passed through the crucible of Divine Love, but through the way the person speaks to me about things here on earth.

--Simone Weil

orange smoke on blue background

A science which does not bring us nearer to God is worthless.

--Simone Weil





two gold-colored skeleton keys

Attentiveness is the heart of prayer.

--Simone Weil

black dragonfly perched on green grass in close up photography during daytime

The full expression of personality depends upon its being inflated by social prestige; it is a social privilege.

--Simone Weil

milky way galaxy

The struggle between the opponents and defenders of capitalism is a struggle between innovators who do not know what innovation to make and conservatives who do not know what to conserve.

--Simone Weil

boy wearing American flag print eyeglasses sticking his mouth open

War is the supreme form of prestige.

--Simone Weil

body of water under clear blue sky painting

A hurtful act is the transference to others of the degradation which we bear in ourselves.

--Simone Weil




silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

An atheist may be simply one whose faith and love are concentrated on the impersonal aspects of God.

--Simone Weil

white and pink plastic bottles

Religion as a source of consolation is an obstacle to true faith.

--Simone Weil

white and yellow flowers during daytime

Petroleum is a more likely cause of international conflict than wheat.

--Simone Weil

white and black satellite dish on brown field during night time

Algebra and money are essentially levelers; the first intellectually, the second effectively.

--Simone Weil

sunset

Love of God is pure when joy and suffering inspire an equal degree of gratitude.

--Simone Weil

yellow, orange, red, green, and blue abstract painting

The miser deprives himself of his treasure because of his desire for it.

--Simone Weil


person holding white book

The only way into truth is through one's own annihilation; through dwelling a long time in a state of extreme and total humiliation.

--Simone Weil

group of penguins standing on white snow covered ground near body of water during daytime

Humility is attentive patience.

--Simone Weil

yellow sunflower under blue sky during daytime

Meditation on the chance which led to the meeting of my mother and father is even more salutary than meditation on death.

--Simone Weil


None

There are only two sorts of greatness: true greatness, which is of a spiritual order, and the old, old lie of world conquest. Conquest is an ersatz greatness.

--Simone Weil


green trees under white sky during daytime

It is human misery and not pleasure which contains the secret of the divine wisdom.

--Simone Weil

None

Academic work is one of those fields which contain a pearl so precious that it is worth while to sell all our possessions, keeping nothing for ourselves, in order to be able to acquire it.

--Simone Weil



tree and pink sky painting

It is precisely those artists and writers who are most inclined to think of their art as the manifestation of their personality who are in fact the most in bondage to public taste.

--Simone Weil

white and blue building under clear sky

If Germany, thanks to Hitler and his successors, were to enslave the European nations and destroy most of the treasures of their past, future historians would certainly pronounce that she had civilized Europe.

--Simone Weil


brown sand under blue sky during daytime

In the Church, considered as a social organism, the mysteries inevitably degenerate into beliefs.

--Simone Weil

brown wooden board

The instruments of power -- arms, gold, machines, magical or technical secrets -- always exist independently of him who disposes of them, and can be taken up by others. Consequently all power is unstable.

--Simone Weil


person wearing red jacket climbing on glacier

Science is voiceless; it is the scientists who talk.

--Simone Weil


brown sand under blue sky during daytime

The sea is not less beautiful in our eyes because we know that sometimes ships are wrecked by it.

--Simone Weil

black dog photography

Nothing is less instructive than a machine.

--Simone Weil

shallow focus photography of brown parquet flooring

Evil being the root of mystery, pain is the root of knowledge.

--Simone Weil


brown mountain

There is an easiness in salvation which is more difficult to us than all our efforts.

--Simone Weil


coconut tree near body of water

The speed with which bureaucracy has invaded almost every branch of human activity is something astounding once one thinks about it.

--Simone Weil

man standing outdoors

The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made into an object of affirmation and negation, when in reality they should be an object of contemplation.

--Simone Weil

blue and white abstract painting

Gregorian chant, Romanesque architecture, the Iliad , the invention of geometry were not, for the people through whom they were brought into being and made available to us, occasions for the manifestation of personality.

--Simone Weil

white sand under white sky

It is grace that forms the void inside us and it is grace that can fill the void.

--Simone Weil

top view photography of heart latte coffee

Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.

--Simone Weil

purple and blue light illustration

The payment of debts is necessary for social order. The non-payment is quite equally necessary for social order. For centuries humanity has oscillated, serenely unaware, between these two contradictory necessities.

--Simone Weil

pink cherry blossom tree under blue sky during daytime

We cannot take a single step toward heaven. It is not in our power to travel in a vertical direction. If however we look heavenward for a long time, God comes and takes us up.

--Simone Weil



silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

God is rich in mercy. I know this wealth of His with the certainty of experience. I have touched it.

--Simone Weil

calm ocean

It is good to reflect about whatever forces us to come out of ourselves. I have difficulty in imagining how it can be that you really have some friendship for me; but as you apparently have, it may be for this purpose.

--Simone Weil

crescent moon above mountain

There is no detachment where there is no pain. And there is no pain endured without hatred or lying unless detachment is present too.

--Simone Weil

sunset

Affliction compels us to recognize as real what we do not think possible.

--Simone Weil

white tulips with green leaves

It is only by entering the transcendental, the supernatural, the authentically spiritual order that man rises above the social. Until then, whatever he may do, the social is transcendent in relation to him.

--Simone Weil

blue sky with stars during night time

A self-respecting nation is ready for anything, including war, except for a renunciation of its option to make war.

--Simone Weil

red and yellow abstract painting

The beauty of the world is Christ's tender smile for us coming through matter.

--Simone Weil

green leafed vegetable on brown wooden surface

The notion of obligations comes before that of rights, which is subordinate and relative to the former. A right is not effectual by itself, but only in relation to the obligation to which it corresponds.

--Simone Weil

palm trees covered with fog

In this world we live in a mixture of time and eternity. Hell would be pure time.

--Simone Weil

None

There is nothing that comes closer to true humility than the intelligence. It is impossible to feel pride in one's intelligence at the moment when one really and truly exercises it.

--Simone Weil

person holding yellow petaled flower

We must prefer real hell to an imaginary paradise.

--Simone Weil

grass field under cloudy sky

He who has not God in himself cannot feel His absence.

--Simone Weil



blue, yellow, and brown wall decor

All the tragedies which we can imagine return in the end to the one and only tragedy: the passage of time.

--Simone Weil


sunset

We must love all facts, not for their consequences, but because in each fact God is there present.

--Simone Weil

pair of white lace-up shoes

To love purely is to consent to distance, it is to adore the distance between ourselves and that which we love.

--Simone Weil


adult black and tan dachshund

Whenever one tries to suppress doubt, there is tyranny .

--Simone Weil

Arizona landscape

Charity. To love human beings in so far as they are nothing. That is to love them as God does.

--Simone Weil


purple textile with white line

If a young girl is being forced into a brothel she will not talk about her rights. In such a situation the word would sound ludicrously inadequate.

--Simone Weil

two women making peace sign near the Golden Gate bridge

You could not have wished to be born at a better time than this, when everything is lost.

--Simone Weil

green leaf

Electra weeping for the dead Orestes. If we love God while thinking that he does not exist, he will manifest his existence.

--Simone Weil

yellow flower field near bare trees during daytime

In the intellectual order, the virtue of humility is nothing more nor less than the power of attention.

--Simone Weil

brown and red paint brushes

To be a hero or a heroine, one must give an order to oneself.

--Simone Weil

white desk lamp beside green plant

In solitude we are in the presence of mere matter (even the sky, the stars, the moon, trees in blossom), things of less value (perhaps) than a human spirit. Its value lies in the greater possibility of attention.

--Simone Weil


woman riding on skateboard during daytime

To write the lives of the great in separating them from their works necessarily ends by above all stressing their pettiness, because it is in their work that they have put the best of themselves.

--Simone Weil


adult Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog

The highest ecstasy is the attention at its fullest.

--Simone Weil

empty brown concrete stairs beside green grass under starry sky long-exposure photography

We only possess what we renounce; what we do not renounce escapes from us.

--Simone Weil

silhouette of tall trees

We are like horses who hurt themselves as soon as they pull on their bits -- and we bow our heads. We even lose consciousness of the situation, we just submit. Any re-awakening of thought is then painful.

--Simone Weil

photography of lake near tree

Beauty always promises, but never gives anything.

--Simone Weil

green trees in between gray concrete road

Every being cries out in silence to be read differently. Do not be indifferent to these cries.

--Simone Weil

red and black logo

The only great spirit of our time.

--Simone Weil



yellow background

We can only know one thing about God -- that he is what we are not. Our wretchedness alone is an image of this. The more we contemplate it, the more we contemplate him.

--Simone Weil



palm tree under orange sky

The contemporary form of true greatness lies in a civilization founded upon the spirituality of work.

--Simone Weil


red and blue light digital wallpaper

To set up as a standard of public morality a notion which can neither be defined nor conceived is to open the door to every kind of tyranny.

--Simone Weil



couple sitting near trees during golden hour

When a contradiction is impossible to resolve except by a lie, then we know that it is really a door.

--Simone Weil



road in the middle of grass covered field during day

It is to the prodigals...that the memory of their Father's house comes back. If the son had lived economically he would never have thought of returning.

--Simone Weil

silhouette of a person during sunset

I would suggest that barbarism be considered as a permanent and universal human characteristic which becomes more or less pronounced according to the play of circumstances.

--Simone Weil

None

No human being escapes the necessity of conceiving some good outside himself towards which his thought turns in a movement of desire, supplication, and hope.

--Simone Weil


green leafed vegetable on brown wooden surface

Our science is like a store filled with the most subtle intellectual devices for solving the most complex problems, and yet we are almost incapable of applying the elementary principles of rational thought.

--Simone Weil

fawn pug lying on floor

The capacity to give one's attention to a sufferer is a very rare and difficult thing; it is almost a miracle; it is a miracle. Nearly all those who think they have the capacity do not possess it.

--Simone Weil


purple flowers under sunny sky

In what concerns divine things, belief is not appropriate. Only certainty will do. Anything less than certainty is unworthy of God.

--Simone Weil


blue sky with stars during night time

The whole of our civilization is founded on specialization, which implies the enslavement of those who execute to those who coordinate.

--Simone Weil

band performing on stage in front of people

Stars and blossoming fruit-trees: utter permanence and extreme fragility give an equal sense of eternity.

--Simone Weil

group of people waving their hands

Love: To feel with one's whole self the existence of another being.

--Simone Weil

woman wearing black top standing near yellow wall

Humanism was not wrong in thinking that truth, beauty, liberty, and equality are of infinite value, but in thinking that man can get them for himself without grace.

--Simone Weil

silhouette of pine trees photo

The joy of learning is as indispensable in study as breathing is in running.

--Simone Weil

Longer Version:

The joy of learning is as indispensable in study as breathing is in running. Where it is lacking there are no real students, but only poor caricatures of apprentices who, at the end of their apprenticeship, will not even have a trade.


landscape photography of mountain

All sins are attempts to fill voids.

--Simone Weil

sunset

There are only two things that pierce the human heart. One is beauty. The other is affliction.

--Simone Weil

blue and black abstract painting

Punishment is a vital need of the human soul.

--Simone Weil

silhouette of pine trees photo

The glossy surface of our civilization hides a real intellectual decadence.

--Simone Weil

photography of white wall lot

The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say, "What are you going through?

--Simone Weil

None

Those who are unhappy have no need for anything in this world but people capable of giving them their attention.

--Simone Weil

bird in the sky

God's love for us is not the reason for which we should love him. God's love for us is the reason for us to love ourselves.

--Simone Weil

person holding sunflower

It is only from the light which streams constantly from heaven that a tree can derive the energy to strike its roots deep into the soil. The tree is in fact rooted in the sky.

--Simone Weil

boy standing on grass and facing fence during daytime

The simultaneous existence of opposite virtues in the soul like pincers to catch hold of God.

--Simone Weil

sunset

Difficult as it is really to listen to someone in affliction, it is just as difficult for him to know that compassion is listening to him.

--Simone Weil


rainbow

Every kind of reward constitutes a degradation of energy.

--Simone Weil

Blue to purple gradient

There are two atheisms of which one is a purification of the notion of God.

--Simone Weil

close up photo of tree

True definition of science: the study of the beauty of the world.

--Simone Weil


high-angle photography of mountain at sunset

Every time that I think of the crucifixion of Christ, I commit the sin of envy.

--Simone Weil

flat lay photography teacup on top of saucer

Whatever debases the intelligence degrades the entire human being.

--Simone Weil

pen on brown board

Equality is the public recognition, effectively expressed in institutions and manners, of the principle that an equal degree of attention is due to the needs of all human beings.

--Simone Weil

purple petaled flower on gray surface

Even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no result, one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the soul.

--Simone Weil

black floor lamp at the corner

The contradictions the mind comes up against, these are the only realities, the criterion of the real. There is no contradiction in what is imaginary. Contradiction is the test of necessity.

--Simone Weil

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